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Shrimp keep dying


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I have a 2.5 gallon tank with plants and driftwood.  I put a small pre-cycled sponge filter in it and have been running it for two weeks with a large mystery snail.  I recently purchased 10 crystal shrimp from a local store, drip acclimated them and 2/3 of them perished in the first 24 hours.  I moved the remaining shrimp to an aquarium with my blind beta in it where they are doing well, but the water is too warm for them in there.

 I really want to put them in my planted aquarium but i can’t figure out what caused the massive die off.  

pH 6.4, ammonia 0, nitrite 0, nitrate 0

gH 5, kH 2, tds 128, temp 70 degrees 

I know the tank is cycled because I check it every day and it went through a small ammonia spike, then nitrites were up for a few days, then I got a tiny bit of nitrate before everything went back to 0.  The plants have been growing very well and the snail has been extremely active and happy.

Help or advice would be greatly appreciated.


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Shrimp need biofilm to graze on, which takes time to develop.  I've run into the same problem.  Even in a tank with a healthy population of beneficial bacteria they will often die off if introduced to a tank that hasn't "seasoned" properly.  The fact that they're doing well in the other tank reinforces my belief that this was the problem.

I'd give it at least another 3 months with just the snail, and then try again.

Also, when you do, drip acclimate them for an hour or two first (maybe you did that this time too).

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Going off of what @JettsPapa said. I agree with this as well, putting them into a "sterile" environment won't give them things to graze on all day. I would just let the tank sit for some time, add in plenty of surface area for biofilm to grow, which it looks like you are doing well with the driftwood and plants. I would also recommend adding a rockpile, that is quite popular among shrimp keepers. Even if you don't have any fish with them, it will give them some cavities to feel safe in raising the shrimplets! 🦐

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